It has been over five weeks since I crashed in early May and hurt my knee. That seems like a good amount of time for healing, and I wish so much that I could say it has been sufficient, but unfortunately I cannot.
While I have certainly progressed from the early stages of zero range of motion, peg-legged and painful walking, and “bum leg” call-outs, I am nowhere near where I would like to be, had hoped to be, or expected to be at this point.
Here is the run-down… When I crashed, I took pretty much the entire force of the fall (from an elevated height) straight on my knee cap (onto a rock). That was a WHOLE lotta trauma for a pretty sensitive area, and that poor knee of mine is still working hard as heck to heal itself. Five-and-a-half weeks later and it is STILL hot to the touch as it scrambles to repair the damage from the bone contusion. (Go little knee, go!!). The physical therapists I’ve been working with also say I’ve now got a very nasty case of patellar tendinitis going on, which is definitely no bueno. So, between the still-healing trauma and the very angry tendon, my knee is still a ways off from being fully functioning.
Basically, I cannot put weight on that knee past a certain bend-point, as the bottom of the quad is having a really hard time engaging with the irritation from the injury and the tendinitis, so there is essentially a lot of awkward weakness there. My leg will still occasionally “buckle” if I try to walk too ‘normally’ downstairs, or even without stairs, if I don’t put the majority of my weight on the other leg or if I try to take too big a step. Needless to say, I cannot run. I have not run for five weeks — certainly one of the longest periods of my life without exercising such a great passion of mine. Fortunately, I can now swim unrestricted, and am getting darn close to 100 percent in my biking, as I can now stand climb again, though I am not yet at full power.
I’ve gotten some really great exercises to work on to help strengthen and stretch the areas impacted by my injury, and am still implementing many other methods of recovery to try and get myself back on track. So, between the swimming, biking, standard strength exercises and injury-specific work, I’m still keeping myself busy in terms of training and recovery. But I certainly miss running — very, very much. Even more so, I miss racing; I miss triathlon.
But as of right now, I am merely an aqua-biker, trying to stay as patient and positive as possible while I wait for my third discipline to return. So far I’ve already missed three races on my schedule, all of them Olympic distances that I was very much looking forward to as great training and opportunities to push myself. Disappointing for sure, and checking out race-day results has been especially difficult as I catch myself thinking of what I “could have done.” But the most difficult thing so far has been acknowledging the fact that I cannot race at Ironman Coeur d’Alene this coming weekend.
CDA was to be one of the biggest races on my calendar this year, and certainly the race that I built my early season around. Getting to Kona (Ironman World Championships) was one of my big goals for this season, and I really prioritized that and the Iron-distance in setting up my calendar. But IMCDA was the only 2013 Kona qualifier on my schedule, so that dream now must be revised. I would have needed a great day, but I think I had a very realistic chance at a qualifying slot. But now, I don’t even have a shot… for this year, anyway.
This has been a tough pill to swallow, and I held out hope everyday from the time I got injured that things would miraculously turn around and I’d be able to race at IMCDA. It wasn’t until the end of last week that I finally, officially decided to give in. Before last week, I felt confident that even with such a lack of running in recent weeks, I could easily get through the marathon if my knee was healthy in time for the race, and even do well in it. But with just one week to go, there is certainly not a chance I will be healthy enough to put my body through 26.2 miles, since as of today I still cannot run even one.
A lot of me feels frustrated and very disappointed at having to give up before I’ve even started at CDA, but then the more rational part remembers that I am in the midst of what I will hope will be a very long journey of swimming, biking and running. I have already started, and I am nowhere close to being finished.This is merely a bump in the road. A result — or in this case a non-result — at IMCDA, or Kona, does not define the journey for me, even this year. It is only a small piece of it.
I know I have so much left to look forward to this season and beyond. And while it’s tough to let IMCDA go, I am honestly really excited to refocus my goals for the remainder of the season, make the necessary adjustments, and see what all I can do with the rest of 2013. I still have a 2014 IM qualifier in the books, the Xterra World Championships, a couple 70.3’s, and perhaps some other fun stuff in the mix. For now, my focus is on getting healthy and staying as fit and strong as I can given the circumstances. I am approaching my recovery as I would my racing, and doing my best to give it 100 percent while balancing the training that I still can do healthfully.
On the plus side, running was definitely my strength before, particularly on the road, and my biking and swimming skills are certainly thankful for the extra attention… and hopefully it will show when my racing time returns! I know there is nothing I can do to make my knee miraculously heal. All I can do is let my body recovery at its own pace and do my best to help it out along the way. But perhaps the most important thing I can do is to stay patient and positive, and keep working to find those silver linings. It’s strange not to be packing up for Idaho right now, but here I am… blogging, working and icing. But I’m giving those things 100 percent, and will continue to give 100 percent to each of my adjusted days and training methods, as I wait for my body to reach its own 100 percent again.